by Cosmo Lee

Costa Rica isn’t just a popular tourist destination. It’s also, at last count, home to 59 metal bands. Some of the more intriguing names include Mad Klown, Necropedophilia, Pseudostratiffied Epithelium, Linfogranulomatosis Inguinalis, and Alastor Sanguinary Embryo. Evidently, the latter was originally called Alastor, but added more words to avoid confusion with other Alastors – shades of Therapy? or Nirvana 2002.

La Tempestad
Heavy Metal

Acero are the first Costa Rican metal band I’ve heard. They obviously love Iron Maiden, but that is generally a good thing. Their brand of traditional heavy metal is refreshingly heartfelt. Bands playing this style today are often click-tracked and compressed to death. Acero, however, are raw, enthusiastic, and catchy. Their debut full-length, 2002’s Pasado y Presente, was merely raw and enthusiastic. En Pie de Guerra finds the band with increased chops in all areas. Adrian Moya hits high notes with conviction now, and the guitarists are particularly fond of two-handed tapping. “La Tempestad” is stirringly up-tempo, while “Solsticio de Verano” is a creative instrumental built around “When Johnny Comes Marching Home.” “Heavy Metal” is one of the purest expressions of love for the music I’ve ever heard. Here’s my rough translation of the Spanish lyrics:

When I wake up, I already want to listen
To the music that’s most brutal
Heavy metal is in my heart
Nothing can change me

Heavy metal, I am heavy metal

Jazz and classical don’t seem bad to me
But they don’t make me explode
Salsa or merengue I don’t want to hear
Only metal makes me fly

Heavy metal, I am heavy metal

Metal will never die
While it lives in your heart
This guitar will sound
It will fill you with emotion

The song’s video perfectly conveys this passion. Dig the twin slide guitar solo – I’ve never seen that before in metal!


CD Baby (CD)
Amazon (MP3)